Considering a Move? The Differences Between Living in NYC Vs London

June 16, 2020 | Sarah Funky

Think major world cities outside of the US, and London is probably one of the first places that you’ll come up with. The UK capital city is comparable in population to New York City, totaling around 8.9 million compared to NYC’s 8.4 million. As for size, however, the Greater London Area covers around 607 square miles, which is about twice as big as NYC’s 302.6 square mile area. 

Photo of Sarah in NYC by Jason Smith

Despite the obvious size difference, both cities feel about as busy as each other and have a similar buzz about them. On top of this, most residents of either city probably think that they live in the center of the world, so how do you go about deciding which you prefer – or which one you’d like to live in if you’re considering moving? 

Photo by Dominika Gregušová from Pexels


Both metropolises have an extensive underground train system: the New York Subway, and the London Underground, or “tube,” as it’s called by the locals. Arguably, NYC’s offering is far more useful for commuting though. Despite covering an area half the size, it has almost three times as much track, and just under double the number of stations. This makes it far easier to stick to one type of public transit when getting from A to B when compared to London, where you may have to switch to an overground train or even a bus to continue your journey, especially if you travel south of the river. Both cities offering an opportunity to use your favorite electric scooter ( my favorite reviews at Go2Scooter) getting to work faster.

Sarah in the NYC subway during COVID pandemic. Photo by Luis Yanes


Renting, despite being notoriously expensive in London, is actually cheaper than in New York, where renters can spend up to 30% more for a comparable-sized apartment. Naturally, buying real estate varies by neighborhood but, in general, you’d probably need a considerably larger mortgage to buy in London when compared to New York.

On the plus side, you’re likely to find that you have a much wider range of mortgage deals available to you thanks to the UK’s very fast-moving real estate market that is flooded with independent mortgage brokers and advisors. Of course, research into your options is paramount if you do decide to go down the mortgage route, as with all major financial decisions.

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels


It’s clear that in either city, you’ll need a high-paying job to be able to afford to stay for any longer than a short vacation. Both cities are packed with financial giants such as major banks and their countries’ respective stock exchanges but they both also have a thriving creative industry full of marketing and advertising agencies as well as world-renowned theater scenes. According to the US census, the average salary in NYC is $57,782 while in London, it’s around £40,000, which translates to somewhere in the region of $50,000. It’s definitely less in London, but if, as we’ve already noted, the cost of living is slightly lower, then this wage gap is less of a problem. This is largely down to your industry, so you will want to look into specifics on job portals such as Glassdoor.

There are of course plenty of other things to consider, such as the nightlife and amount of green space but, overall, both cities have their ups and downs and are both worth a visit to check them out in person before making any big decisions. 

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